Michael Bublé is feeling good, really good with “Love,” his 10th studio album, containing cherished jazz classics and a new contemporary direction. Bublé is back, and thank God it’s not a Christmas album.
The Nov. 16 release date seemed like perfect timing to drop a follow-up to his classic 2011 “Christmas” album. If iconic can be used in any context, Bublé’s “Christmas” set an unmatched bar for what holiday albums should be moving toward. Surprisingly, instead, we have been blessed with gleeful lyrics about all kinds of love.
The Canadian singer has endured a difficult few years following his 3-year-old son Noah’s cancer diagnosis in 2016. Bublé dropped everything, including his music career, to devote himself to Noah’s recovery. In a Carpool Karaoke session with James Cordon, Bublé retells, “I became the strength to somehow pull us and lift us and to be positive. When they got it out and the chemo was done, they said, ‘We did it! He’s good. We’re OK,’ I just fell.”
The most compelling track by far is “Forever Now,” a downtempo ballad. Addressing his son’s journey to recovery, Bublé serenades, “You know as well as anybody how tough this life can be but you’ve got so much strength inside you. A strength I pray you’ll never need.”
The love for a child is stronger than anything I can fathom and it’s evident through the song.
“I always say to him, ‘Spiderman is amazing. Superman is amazing, but they’re fake. They’re not real. You’re a superhero, my superhero.’” Bublé emotionally reminisces.
Bublé has sworn to never perform this stand-out track live because it’s “too painful.”It’s a shame we will never hear those words live, as they hit a nerve and would leave few audience members with dry eyes after listening to the song.
There is something different about Bublé. It’s hard to pinpoint as his classic Frank Sinatra-style is still very much present but there is something else to be noted.
There is an element of lightheartedness to the album. For instance, the cover art is a close-up of him blissfully smiling off into the distance. Playfully, the album is not literally titled “Love,” but rather a heart emoji. This is out of character for the cover of the album considering his serious aesthetic.
Then there’s “Love You Anymore,” written by Charlie Puth. Bublé notoriously prefers to write his own songs or cover great classics. Puth was trusted, and to be quite frank I don’t think he succeeded because the song seemed to be better suited for Puth’s audience rather than Bublé’s. The track is still beautiful, Bublé has the charisma to make almost anything sound effortlessly smooth.
Cécile McLorin Salvant joins Bublé for a rendition of “La vie en rose,” taking us to the streets of Paris. That’s exactly the place one would want to go when listening to the classic tune. Their interpretation conveys radiant and uplifting tones in contrast to Lady Gaga’s hypnotic rendition for “A Star is Born” earlier this year.
Bublé holds his own with his almost James Bond film-inspired rendition of “My Funny Valentine,” made famous by both Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra. The classics “Unforgettable,” “When I Fall in Love” and “I Only Have Eyes For You” are also beautifully executed. The album jumps from ballads to upbeat tracks, like “I Only Have Eyes for You” and “Such a Night.”
Instead of focusing on the turmoil he has endured, Bublé teaches us all about the beauty in love and the motivation in seeing the happiness that can arise after a dark period. Particularly, as we feel tension politically, mentally and emotionally throughout the United States, we all need a little bit of Bublé in our lives. “Love” is an essential part of the tunes we need to end this year on a high note, and hopefully a little feverishly in love.